Is a detox right for you?

In association with Trust Me I'm a Doctor and nutritionist Fiona Hunter

It seems like someone’s always telling us to worry about toxins in our diet. Detox is big business, and a quick internet search will find suggestions for detoxing with teas, juices and supplements. But do any of these actually work? And can a DIY detox, cutting out foods such as caffeine, dairy or wheat, lead to a more toxin-free you?

Can cutting out food groups detox you?

Restricting your diet and cutting out food groups such as wheat or dairy does not eliminate toxins. If you think you have an allergy to any food groups, see your doctor.

There is no scientific evidence to show that sugar is toxic. However, if you eat a lot of refined sugar, cutting back on it or cutting it out completely is a good thing because it provides empty calories (ie calories that don’t come packaged with any other nutritional benefit) and so doesn’t make a positive contribution to your diet. Don’t forget that so-called ‘natural’ sugars, such as honey and maple syrup, are still sugars.

If you are considering a juice-based detox, remember that fruit tends to be high in sugar and consuming an excessive amount of fruit in juices will not be good for you. The acid in the fruit also damages the enamel that protects your teeth.

If you’re tempted to follow a very low-calorie diet with the aim of detoxing rather than weight loss, be aware that fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which could damage your health in the long term. In fact, slashing your calorie intake may also build up chemicals called ketones, which can lead to nausea, dehydrations and light headedness. Moderation, balance and variety are the keys to a healthy diet.

However, if you decide to cut back on processed foods, eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more water, it can be a good way to kick-start a long-term change towards healthier eating habits.

Can supplements or superfoods detox you?

There is no reliable evidence that supplements or superfoods will help you detox. Supplements are not a quick-fix cure or a substitute for a healthy balanced diet. Furthermore, a number of studies suggest that high doses of some supplements may increase your risk of some diseases.

Is a detox ever a good idea?

There is no evidence that it is possible to actively detox from the chemicals of everyday life. Furthermore, your body is very good at expelling toxins naturally.